An article I wrote for a blog called Think Theology.

A friend Luke Geraty asked me to write about “why it is important for pastors to spend time with their people because if they don’t they’ll preach sermons that don’t reach people and they’ll miss out on a ton of missional opportunities along the way.”  This is what I came up with. He is a great person, pastor and I really enjoy his blog check it out if you get the chance.

Here is the link to my article… “Pastors, plant Jesus seeds in the garden that God has called you to.”


Michael Lawrence on “Church and State”

Michael Lawrence says this concerning the topic of the kingdom of God and society as it pertains to Mark 1:14-15 (emphasis mine)…

“According to Jesus, there is a sharp distinction between church and state, between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God (Matt 26:53-56; John 18:36) Does this mean Christians shouldn’t care about what happens here, or that they can reject earthly politics? Not at all. In between the inauguration and consummation of the kingdom of God earthly political authority is both legitimate and good (Romans 13). HOWEVER, SUCH AUTHORITY IS ALSO BOTH TEMPORARY AND LIMITED. WE NEITHER PUT OUR FINAL HOPE IN, NOR GIVE OUR FINAL LOYALTY TO, THE POLITICAL STATE (CF. ACTS 4:19-20)”

From his book Biblical Theology in the Life of The Church.

What is the Christian claim?

In John Stott’s popular little book Basic Christianity he says  “The Christian claim is that we can find God in Jesus Christ.” I love this statement. Based on my experience however, this wonderful statement is not as simple as it seems.

Here are the top five things from my Christian experience that seem to make this “claim”  somewhat obscure.

  1. Christian Subculture (for many this is simply called church where the word “Jesus” can mean many things based on whether or not you are a conservative, liberal, Calvinist, fundamentalist, redneck, white collar, blue collar, Etc. )

    • Is the Christian claim… that we can find God in Christian subculture?
  2. Christless Judgement (judging others like Christ as if you have not been, are not being and will not be judged by Christ)

    • Is the Christian claim… that we can find God through our highly perfected form of  “fruit checking”, “sin policing”, and “meddling”? {I remember the nickname given to me  by a couple of the locals in one of the communities I pastored  was “The Sin Buster”}
  3. Standards (they seem to give a false sense of purpose after your relationship with Christ dies. After our love for Christ has been replace with the love of standards we begin to impose our love for standards on as many unsuspecting victims as possible)

    • Is the Christian claim…  that we can find God through standards?
  4. Leadership (You need leadership to tell you what to think and believe)

    • Is the Christian claim…  that we can find God through our perfect Christian leadership?
  5. Programs and Systems (Having a problem? We have a solution.)

    • Is the Christian claim…  that we can find God through our programs and systems?

None of these things are bad in and of themselves in my opinion. Subculture, Judgement, Standards, Leadership, Programs and Systems all have their place of course. Wherever God’s image bearers are you can expect to find these nesting things. They are just things that I have found being prescribed by us to broken people as a means to redemption long before they encounter the real Jesus.

Lets work on that.

If we can let the truth that Jesus  is a person and not an “idea up for grabs” we should be able to find comfort in “The Christian claim… that we can find God in Jesus Christ”. Lets allow the lost to find and be found by the real Jesus first then what grows out of that will be of much better use for His kingdom. 

The evangelical medium over message delemma…

Here are some example questions that seem to create conflict in and among certain evangelical circles in regards to medium over message.

  1. Is bible software a bible?

  2. Are forms of communication like email, Facebook, e cards, Etc. the same as a written or typed forms?

  3. Is an e-reader a better tool for reading?Image

  4. Can art-work be a form of evangelism?

  5. Is “texting” a question during the Sunday morning service different from putting one on paper and placing it in a question box?

Here are some questions I would love to dialogue over…

Q: Does it seem, for the most part, that evangelicals (my sphere of influence) place more emphasis on the medium than the message? In other words does the form of our communication seem to be more important than the message?

Q: Have you seen any other forms of this issue among evangelicals?

Q: What, in your opinion, is the cause of this “medium over message” dilemma?

Q: What, in your opinion, would be some effective ways to overcome this dilemma?

Eleven things we as Evangelicals should work on changing.

Ten things I think Evangelicals could work on. Do you have any to add?
1. Frozen doctrine needs to melt from ice cubes of traditional dogma into rich warm conversation. (sorry i’m drinking hot chocolate)
2. What are you angry about? We need to stop being angry about what we believe.Love God and Love others but you don’t have to be angry about it..
3. We need to see local churches as a part of the community not simply in the community.
4. Pastors need to take on the servant leadership model of Jesus and the apostles and dump the entrepreneurial model.
5. If you have a good idea for a church program and no one wants to help then it’s a bad idea for your church. People not programs.
6. Sunday school is overrated.
7. Every ministry in the church should be subordinate to discipleship. (discipleship is more than a class or program)
8. Big ideas like the quiver full movement, home-school, creationism, the nuclear family etc… should never move into the realm of Christian mandate. You know it’s bad when a recovering crack adict mom or dad comes into your church with his or her children and he hears about the problem with public schools and why home school is what Jesus would have done. “Hi welcome to our church o you have a crack problem well don’t raise children of Caesar”
9. We should invent something called Church Adoption. Wealthier suburban churches making poorer urban and rural churches their mission focus before going over seas would make me actually like mega-churches. So… before you order that 400 foot glass statue of Jesus helping people for your foyer we need a church roof.
10. Stop performing. I don’t know about you but mistakes comfort me. We need to be a little less polished.
11. Communion… I won’t say to much here or I might get in trouble… does anyone else feel like our communion celebrations are missing something? I mean if you think taking a couple of minutes to eat a little cracker and drink grape juice from a thimble is biblical communion…. well… you have every right… I won’t say anything. 🙂

Here is my morning mind purge. There I feel much better. What would you add? Or get offended over (Just joking)